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STEPHEN Bo WEEKS 

CLASS OF 1886; PH.D. THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 



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^ut tlit fruit of t^e Spirit is lotie, 
iop, peace, lonsEiuffering:, (irntlcnefiifii, 
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pop Ppiijate Qi'pculatior?. 



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I 



The primary objed of this sketch is to afford in 
the coming years to the occupants of "The tJ^eliie 
Battle Lewis Memorial Cot " in St. John's Hos- 
pital, %aleigh, some idea of the rare and beautiful 
character of their benefactress. 

It is proper to state that of the letters from 
which extrads are given, not one was written for 
any eye but that of private friendship. And this 
use has been made of them in nearly every case 
without asking permission of the writers ; of not 
one of whom, however, can we conceive as obje£l- 
ing thus to assist in presenting a faithful portrait. 



THE only visible link between this life and the 
next, and the only work of our hands that does 
span the grave and follow us into the unseen world 
beyond, is what we accomplish in endeavoring to imi- 
tate Him who went about doing good. Doing good 
is unselfishness in action ; it is work for others, and 
its field comprehends the smallest kindnesses of every- 
day life as clearly as the noblest exercise of public 
charity. The cup of cold water marks it, as well as 
the asylum, or the hospital, or the college. The 
loving smile, the cheering word, in this service may 
be more worthy of remembrance than all the world 
calls great outside of it. 



She whose memory this sketch and the apartment 
in St. John's Hospital are meant to preserve was 



but a young and tenderly nurtured woman, whose 
short Hfe was wholly sheltered among home joys 
and home duties. There are few materials for a 
memoir, no conspicuous incidents, no special under- 
takings or achievements to note, yet she so lived in 
the daily exercise of gentle charity, patience, unself- 
ishness, and love, as to become the center of light and 
sweetness to a large circle, diffusing an influence for 
good as unobtrusively as a flower sheds its fragrance. 
Her untimely death was like the withdrawal of the 
sunliofht from the lives of those who loved her. 

To delineate a character so rare and beautiful, and 
to put on record a few of the tributes which her 
death called forth, seem now the last grateful service 
we can do her, and the only means by which those 
who shall hereafter share the charity devoted to her 
memory can learn what she was. 

Cornelia Viola, eldest child of Hon. Kemp P. 
and Martha A. Battle, was born in Raleigh, N. C, 
January 14, 1857. She was married to Dr. Richard 
H. Lewis, of Raleigh, February 13, 1877, became the 
mother of four children, all of whom survived her, 
and died October 13, 1886. 

This brief record conveys the chief incidents of 
woman's life' — birth, marriage, motherhood, and 



death; these comprise the ordinary round of her 
important and sacred duties and ties, and there is 
seldom room for her to do more than so to fill these 
as to hear the " Well done " at last. 

Mrs. Lewis's life may be said to have been a fortu- 
nate one, exceptionally blessed in parents, brothers, 
husband, children, and friends. She was gifted from 
her cradle with beauty and winning grace ; she was 
surrounded with the advantages conferred by wealth, 
social position, and cultivation, and she grew up 
amone the refining- influences of a beautiful and well- 
ordered home, herself its fairest flower, its most 
attractive ornament. Far above all other blessings 
must be reckoned this : that she was the child of 
Christian parents, who, while sparing no pains to fit 
her for the duties of this life, were careful to lead her 
early in the Way Everlasting. Foreseeing the special 
dangers and temptations that awaited a girl so beau- 
tiful and so attractive, her devoted mother endeav- 
ored from childhood to develop in her the graces of 
humility and unselfishness. By these she was dis- 
tinguished through life. Among other beautiful 
children, among other beautiful young women, Nellie 
Battle was marked by the modesty and simplicity of 
her manners, by her entire freedom from everything 
like self-assertion or vanity, and by her evident 



8 

anxiety for the happiness and comfort of all around 
her. The token of this disposition was on her face ; 
she wore the tranquil, self- forgetting look which men 
have no other word for than " angelic." 

The best influences of the Episcopal Church, ol 
which she was a true child by birth, baptism, and 
ardent affection, shed the dew of their blessing on 
her young head. Bright as she was among her 
young friends, and innocently gay with other girls, 
these controlling, orderly, and gracious influences, 
setting the seal of early piety upon her character, 
gave it stability, dignity, and purpose. She was still 
very young when members of the family began to go 
to her for her opinion, to rely upon her prudence, 
and, if for nothing else, to be cheered by the fullness 
of her sympathy. 

She was so remarkable for the gentleness and 
sweetness of her air and expression that where she 
was not well known the mistake might have been 
made of supposing that she lacked strength or 
energy of character. The reverse of this was true. 
Her father, her husband, her brothers, all prominent 
as men of high character, cultivation, and strong 
sense, habitually consulted her, relying not only on 
her sympathy, but on her judgment ; and in this she 
could be very firm. Her convictions of duty were 



always clear, and her truthfulness, her conscientious- 
ness, were so absolute that her decisions imparted a 
sense of restfulness. 

In all important relations Mrs. Lewis was loyalty 
itself. In religion, love, and friendship she could be 
relied upon to prove steadfast. She was not quick 
to form new ties, but her faith, once given, was true. 

Not a few good women go through life acting, 
perhaps unconsciously, the part of absorbents. How- 
ever fitted to be loved, and however much they 
receive, still of all they do receive they radiate but 
little. They sit at the receipt of things and are con- 
tent. Mrs. Lewis was essentially a radiator. What 
she received she gave out. The devotion, the admi- 
ration, she excited she was always ready herself to 
bestow on others, putting them forward and enjoying 
their successes. Her accomplishments were at the 
service of others — her music, her voice, were always 
ready. To please her father, she made a special 
study of English and Scotch ballads, singing them 
with exquisite charm. For years she led the choir 
of Christ Church, giving much time and study to 
this service of song, in which she greatly delighted. 
Her young ladyhood was a round of graceful 
pleasures and innocent triumphs, through all of which 
she remained thoroughly unspoiled ; and upon her 

2 



lO 

happy marriage at the age of twenty, and entrance 
upon the serious duties of life, she was still the angel 
of the house in her new home, diffusing sweet con- 
tent on all hearts there. It was characteristic of her 
that her marriage bated no jot of her loving service 
to her parents and brothers. They still felt her love 
and sympathy and her help in all their affairs, still 
looked to her for the light and blessing of their lives. 
She was a model wife and daughter-in-law, giving to 
all her husband's relatives the same loyalty she gave 
her own; but she never allowed her own, not even on 
her father's removal to Chapel Hill, to feel for a day 
that they had lost her. 

To her children she was the ideal mother whom 
poets embalm in our hearts. Careful, judicious, and 
most tender, she gave them so much of her time and 
work that the wonder was how she still met the 
claims of society and friendship ; yet one of the 
most frequent remarks in the sorrowing letters written 
after her death was this : " No one knows but myself 
what I have lost in her." Her summers were gener- 
ally spent with her children at her father's house in 
Chapel Hill. One evening when all the family, with a 
visitor or two, were on the piazza enjoying the moon- 
lieht, her absence was remarked. "Oh," said one 
softly, " she is never out here at this hour ; she makes 



1 1 

a religion of seeing her children put to bed herself and 
hearing them say their prayers." After a while she 
came out and quietly joined the circle, with the seal 
of this evening devotion on her fair forehead like a 
star. In her letters to her mother, all through the 
usual sweet nursery gossip that a fond young mother 
will pour out about her little ones, was constantly 
evident her serious purpose to secure their happiness 
by making them good. Once she wrote that she 
wanted to train them to share what they had — to be 
fond of ofivino-' "I am beo'innlnof with the flowers, 
and teaching them to offer them to people." One 
little anecdote has a tender significance now. Writing 
to her mother that she had heard her little Kemp 
talking of some one dead as "out in the cemetery," 
she "did not want him to have the idea of their being 
there under the ground, and had endeavored to ex- 
plain it to him," but did not think her talk had made 
any impression on him. "A day or two after, I heard 
Rosa say one of her family was out in the cemetery. 
'No,' said Kemp, quickly and confidently, 'she ain't 
— her body is there, but she ain't.' " 

Her close attention to her children was the more 
noticeable because their nurse was an elderly experi- 
enced woman of excellent character, who had been 
her own nurse in infancy and had her fullest confi- 



12 

dence. This good woman, Margaret Selby by name, 
though she had been freed by the war, had volunta- 
rily returned to her young mistress when she learned 
that she had need of her, and joyfully assumed the 
charge of the new generation, deserving and receiv- 
ing the affectionate regard of the whole family. 

The tendency of the day is to loosen domestic ties 
of this sort, to ignore the existence between mistress 
and servant of such feelings as regard and fealty. 
It is the more pleasant and proper to record that 
they do exist. Here, at least, was one young mistress 
of a household who never gave a hasty or petulant 
word to her servants, and never received even a dis- 
obliging glance from them. 

The last summer of Mrs. Lewis's life, spent as 
usual at her father's, she seemed to enjoy with height- 
ened zest and interest in all things. The season was 
an exceptionally fine one, and "the glory of the grass 
and splendor of the flower" were never more marked. 
And she was never in better health, never more beau- 
tiful, more radiant, as with that inward peace which 
passes understanding. She was reading some new 
and valuable books, of which her appreciation was 
very keen. Her talk of men and things, of passing 
events, was unusually animated and discriminating. 



13 

Her judgments were specially full of consideration 
and charity. With what calm sweetness she spoke 
of things even that she disapproved ! She was no 
talker, for she had no gift whatever for " taking the 
lead," and shrank from the slightest approach to 
it. But as a listener she was unequaled, with bright 
intelligence, and sweet laughter and sweet sayings, 
and withal a purity and delicacy of thought and 
expression that might have become an angel. This 
last summer of her mortal life, with no premonitions 
that it was to be the last, her fond, admiring friends 
rested with more entire content than ever upon the 
charm of her presence. 

Sweet harmonist ! and beautiful as sweet ! 
And young as beautiful! and soft as young! 
And gay as soft! and innocent as gay! 
And happy (if aught happy here) as good ! 
Transfixed by Fate (who loves a lofty mark), 
How from the summit of the grove she fell, 
And left it silent and forlorn. 

During some years of her married life, Mrs. Lewis 
had suffered from ill-health of a peculiarly trying 
nature. She bore it all with perfect composure. No 
one, not even her own tenderly beloved mother, can 
remember to have heard from her a word of com- 



H 

plaint or of impatience. She took what was laid 
upon her in silent submission, with true womanly 
delicacy, dignity, and fortitude. This experience 
seemed to fit her more completely for the character 
of consoler and sympathizer with all who were in 
affliction. On her recovery, her thoughtfulness for the 
sick was redoubled. She hastened to share with them 
her flowers, the delicacies of her table, or whatever of 
the good things of life she possessed. The sweet grav- 
ity that would overspread her lovely face on hearing 
a tale of woe was instantly succeeded by the bright- 
ness of her resolve to " do something." " What can I 
do ? " '* What ouofht I to do ? " were her first thoug-hts. 

But these she never spoke of It was only indi- 
rectly that her friends ever knew that "something" 
had been done. 

The final close of this life, so evidently " hid with 
Christ," was sudden. She was not well when she 
returned to Raleigh in September, but no especial 
apprehensions were felt till the last few days. On 
Wednesday morning, October 13, as her mother was 
hastening to her, "God's finger touched her, and 
she slept." She passed out gently and unconsciously, 
saying no farewell words. 

Bright without spot she was, 
And cannot cease to be. 



15 

It was the marked expansion of her charitable dis- 
position, the evident growth of her wish to be doing 
good and setting her feet in the very print of her 
Master's steps, that made the endowment of a room 
in St. John's Hospital the most appropriate of all 
tributes to her memory. She had taken a deep inter- 
est in this charity from its first establishment, and now 
the doing good in which she found her chief happi- 
ness on earth may herein be indefinitely prolonged. 
Since her death, her Bible has been found, with many 
passages marked and noted with her own hand. 
These may be supposed to have been her favorites, 
the sailing orders, so to speak, by which she steered 
her course. Some of them were copied on the fly- 
leaves, as if she delighted to reiterate the words, and 
with certain dates all through the years, when cer- 
tain truths were found especially precious to her soul. 
Love, and faith, and praise seem to have been the 
congenial topics. I. Cor. xiii. is lined throughout, 
Hebrews xi.. Psalm cxlvii., and many detached texts 
inculcating patience, submission, humility, 

I. Cor. X. lo. Neither murmur ye, as some of them 
also murmured. 

I. Cor. xi. 31. For if we would judge ourselves, we 
should not be judged. 



i6 

I. Cor. xvi. 14. Let all your things be done with 
charity. 

I. John i. 7. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son 
cleanseth us from all sin. 

II. Cor. i. 24. For by faith ye stand. 

I. Thess. V. 18. In every thing give thanks. 

James iv. 7. Submit yourselves therefore to God. 

" 10. Humble yourselves. 

" 1 1. Speak not evil one of another. 

These, and many like them, were the manna on 
which this sweet soul fed, growing from day to day 
in the knowledge and love of her Lord. 

Such characters form the ideal women. We turn 
to the old masters of English poetry and song to 
find them there embalmed. The " hidden strength " 
of the Lady in Comus was hers — the charm of 
" heavenly Una." Herrick, Herbert, Shakespeare, 
must have been inspired by such women. Words- 
worth drew her likeness. 

If any who read this sketch should say the hand of 
love has overdrawn its excellencies and presented a 
creature too bright and pure and good, let the sub- 
joined tributes from other hands be read, and the 
extracts from a few of the many letters received by 
the mourning family. These show how she impressed 



17 

all who approached her. Friends old and young, 
mere passing acquaintances, old family servants — 
from far and near they wrote of her. As long as 
they live they will remember her as one whom God 
had especially blessed, and who so used His gifts as 
to be herself a blessing. And when this generation 
has passed away, as long as the noble work under- 
taken by St. John's Guild shall go on, the name of 
Nellie Battle Lewis will still be spoken and associated 
with it ; and here, in works of love and charity, may 
yet be recalled 

. the touch of a vanish'd hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still! 



^ 



From the Raleigh Neius and Observer, October ly, 1886. 



The announcement of the death of Mrs. R. H. 
Lewis will carry a long and sincere sorrow to many- 
hearts. She was well known throughout the State, 
and wherever known was deeply loved. Her whole 
life was a joy. She had the genius of unselfishness, 
and it was a delight to honor her. As a child, she 
was the pet of a sweet, Christian home, the pride of 
her school, the trusted friend of her playmates. 
Unconscious of her singular beauty, she was a 
stranger to envy, and her victories in the quieter con- 
tests of the school-room, while prized by her as 
merited rewards of duty well done, would have been 
dearer to her if she could have shared them with 



20 

those who had striven with her. Her sweet influence 
as a daughter and sister in a numerous household was 
one of the chief causes of its unalloyed happiness. 
In her judgments she was wise and judicious by intu- 
ition, and won others to them without offense. But 
her influence was wider than this. It followed in her 
train wherever she went. It made her companions 
better and happier. It was an unconscious, silent 
power that did good works. Of her devotion as 
a wife and a mother it is almost a trespass to speak. 
She lent an exquisite charm to everything about her. 
Her four little ones echoed the soft tones and crentle 
grace of the mother, and made for the happy, worthy 
father an ideal home. The very roses seemed to nod 
her welcome as she walked amono^st her flowers. We 
cannot write that she is dead. We know that such 
a spirit cannot die. Such a life cannot die even here. 
Let us love to think that she has gone before any sor- 
row came. Her merry childhood, her happy youth, 
her cloudless married life, she had. Before a shadow 
had fallen about them, she had gone beyond the sun. 
Her life taught us how to live a higher life even here. 
It was an example of her faith, and was born of a 
resolution that never faltered, to do unto others what 
she would have others do to her. The poor will lack 
her constant charity. Worshipers will miss her sweet 



21 

voice in the anthems of praise. We will all miss our 
friend. May the patient resignation which the very 
strenofth of faith alone can g-ive to answer the ear- 
nest prayers of those who were next to her, solace 
their broken hearts. 



Mews and Observer. 

The Funeral Services of Mrs. R. H. Lewis. 

The special esteem in which Mrs. R. H. Lewis was 
held here was most touchingly illustrated yesterday. 
The last sad services over all that was mortal of this 
noble woman, so gentle and pure in character, and 
so greatly beloved by all residents of Raleigh, were 
attended by a congregation in which all the denomi- 
nations in the city were represented. It was a mourn- 
ful tribute to rare loveliness of personal character, and 
inexpressible sadness was felt by all present. The 
services at Christ Church were conducted by Rev. 
Bennett Smedes. Rev. F. M. Hubbard, D. D., was 
within the chancel. The sextette choir sang the 
443d hymn. As the remains were carried out of the 
church, the choir sang " Jesus, lover of my soul." 
Upon the casket was an exquisite pillar of cut 



22 

flowers, on the top of which perched a snow-white 
dove with wings outspread, fit emblem of the gentle 
and lovely creature whose mortal remains indeed lay- 
within the casket's narrow walls, but whose spirit, in 
very truth, is " not lost, but gone before." 

The pall-bearers were Messrs. A. W. Knox, Charles 
E. Johnson, A. D. Mickle, Hugh Morson, F. H. Bus- 
bee, T. H. Briggs, S. F. Mordecai, and P. M. Wilson. 

The Faculty of the University yesterday sent an 
exquisite floral tribute to be placed upon the casket 
of Mrs. R. H. Lewis, as a testimonial of their admi- 
ration for so pure and lovely a character, and as an 
added mark of respect for her distinguished father, 
the President of the University. The Raleigh Acad- 
emy of Medicine sent a beautiful offering of cut 
flowers. 



From the Southern Churchman, October 28, 18S6. 

In Memory of Mrs. Richard H. Lewis, 
OF Raleigh, N. C. 

At her home in Raleigh, N. C, on the morning 
of October 13, 1886, Cornelia Viola Battle, beloved 
wife of Dr. Richard H. Lewis of that city, and only 
daughter of Hon. Kemp P. and Martha A. Battle, of 



Chapel Hill, N. C, entered into the paradise of her 
God. She fell asleep in the twinkling of an eye, to 
awake amid the transcendent glories of her Father's 
mansions. So swift and silent was her departure, 
we stand stunned and agonized, and in our mental 
gropings vainly cry out, "Why is it thus, O God 
Eternal, why is it thus ? " 

The good things of earth were hers, richly : a de- 
voted husband, affectionate parents, lovely children, 
true-hearted brothers, a luxurious home, and the 
interest and admiration of many friends. The intel- 
lectual, moral, and spiritual training which had been 
prayerfully bestowed upon her from her childhood, 
budded, blossomed, and ripened into full fruition. 
She renewed her baptismal vows through the holy 
rite of confirmation, in her early girlhood, and her 
piety as wife, mother, daughter, sister, mistress, 
friend, proved that she was faithful and watchful to 
keep them. The poor rise up and call her blessed, 
for her generous hand knew no stint in its charities. 
Her servants loved her much, and the same nurse 
who cared for and watched over her own infancy, 
now cares for and watches over the infancy of her 
children. 

Her personal beauty was of a rarely high type, 
and the smile that glorified her face as with a 



24 

seraphic loveliness — who that once beheld it can ever 
forget ? 

She possessed the gift of song preeminently, and 
her clear, pure notes have deserted the Christ 
Church choir only to swell the jubilee strains 
around the Great White Throne. The charm of her 
presence, the light touch of her hand, the melody of 
her voice, have now passed beyond the boundaries of 
time ; but there remains a legacy of dear memories, 
which, like angel visits, beckon heavenward. 

We know "it is well," for He doeth it, and we be- 
lieve that He looks in mercy upon our bitter tears, 
and hears with compassion the heart-breaking sobs 
and soul-piercing sighs that bespeak a sore bereave- 
ment. 

The perfect faith that " God so loved the world 
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth on Him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life," is our one sure stay and comfort. 

" Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief." 

L. B. B. 



EXTRACTS 



FROM letters received from friends and relatives. 
We omit many beautiful letters which are simply 
consolatory, our object being to use only those pas- 
sages which so speak of the character of Mrs. Lewis 
as to illustrate and confirm what we have written 
of her. 



To Dr. R. H. Lewis. 



St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 20, 1886. 

It may seem almost like sacrilege to have her name 
mentioned now by one who is almost a stranger to 
you personally, but I feel that you, who possessed 



26 

the qualities of head and heart to win her love, will 
understand and forgive me. I need not tell you that 
I loved her like a sister, for who could see and know 
her and not love her? 

When I first went to Raleigh in '71, I was very- 
poor, and my education had been sadly neglected ; 
yet I possessed all the pride of the family. I knew 
of my rich and cultured kin, and dreaded to meet 
them. Can you understand this ? I felt so keenly 
my poverty and disadvantages, and I knew that I 
talked like a negro, and there was in my heart a 
bitter rebellion against fate for making of me what I 
was. When I went to Cousin Kemp's house I was 
looking for slights, and for some sign or hint that 
my company was not agreeable. My reception was 
a great surprise to me. I was received with kindness, 
and always treated with the greatest consideration 
by all the family — especially by dear old Aunt Lucy 
Battle (God bless her!) — and by your angel wife ; 
for if ever there was an angel on earth, she was one 
to me. At this time she was only fifteen years old 
— a school-girl. I was a great deal in her company, 
and learned to know her well. She seemed intui- 
tively to understand me at once. Whenever I made 
any bitter allusion to my hard lot, she would turn and 
look me full in the face with her soulful eyes, and 



say in the sweetest voice : " Cousin Jesse, you are 
very young; you have plenty of time to get a good 
education yet, and make your fortune ; only em- 
ploy your hours well." At another time she said, "I 
am going to watch you ; and some of these days 
I expect to see you a highly respected man, and 
rich. 

What advice, and what encouragement to come 
from one so young ! Sweet cousin ! I can yet hear 
your kind words, I can yet see your lovely girlish 
face, and yet, and ever will, feel the power of your 
influence ; for what I am to-day, and what I yet may 
be, I owe greatly to my meeting and association with 
you. 

And now, my dear Dr. Lewis, you understand me 
when I tell you that you are no stranger to me. 
When I address you, I feel the double tie of kindred 
and of love. Yours is the greatest loss — how great, 
only you can estimate. But mine is great. I miss 
her, I mourn for her. I do not write to console you; 
for there is but one consolation for such a loss : 
that is, to bow in humble submission to Him who 
doeth all things well. 

Yours affectionately, 

Jesse M. Battle. 



28 



To Dr. Lewis. 

West Chester, Pa., Oct. 24, 1886. 

I read the beautiful tribute to her in the paper you 
so kindly sent, with the warmest interest, feeling that 
every word was true, and from the pen of one who 
knew her well. 

I think I never met any one who so quickly im- 
pressed me with the perfect truthfulness and nobility 
of her character, and yet with such modest grace. 
Her deep maternal love and care were evidenced by 
her lovely children, by their warm affection and their 
dutifulness. Truly the light of their eyes has gone 
out for them forever. 

As men, we are forced to divide our thoughts, and 
new interests are constantly recurring. Our atten- 
tion is diverted, though our hearts must remain sad 
and heavy. But the loss to these dear children must 
be hourly felt, and permanent. Her memory must 
be their sfuiding'-star throuf>"h life. 

Your friend, 

Willis P. Hazard. 



29 



To Dr. Lewis. 

BURGAW, Oct. 19, 1886. 

To know her was a benediction, and to associate 
with her was Hke reading a living epistle of God's 
grace and power over the human heart and life. O, 
that we could look upon death in its true character 
— the entrance into Life ! 

Affectionately, 

Alex. L. Phillips. 



To Dr. Lewis. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 16, 1886. 

Our sorrow is but selfish, for we mourn for our- 
selves. When we think of her now, we ought to 
rejoice in her bliss — the glorious continuation of her 
life, and the expansion of her beautiful nature. The 
thought of how happy you made her life must always 
be a solace to you. Her devotion to you, her perfect 
loyalty, was shown in every act. She was indeed a 
loyal soul. Happy they who could call her friend. 



30 

How many beautiful scenes I can recall, with her 
as the central figure ! This summer her friends in 
C. H. repeatedly remarked upon her increased love- 
liness and animation. She looked as if she had never 
had a thought that was not good. The last evening 
she passed with us was the last time she ever sang 
at the piano. She made her father sing with her 
once; we all thought she never had appeared lovelier, 
nor her voice more thrilling. She was rapidly near- 
ing heaven even then, and I know of no one more 
fit to enter in and be at home there. 

Your sincere friend, 

June Spencer Love. 



To Dr. Lewis. 

Chapel Hill, Oct. 17, 1886. 

I have often said that I thought her more nearly 
perfect than any woman I ever knew. So beautiful 
in person, so amiable in disposition, so gentle, yet so 
true and steadfast, she drew all hearts to her. 

Your friend, 

John Manning. 



31 
To President Battle. 

Washington City, Oct. 14, 1886. 

In reason, there is no ground for sorrow, except 
for her httle children. All that great tide of 
overwhelming emotion which swells your hearts 
has no rational source, however natural, and almost 
beyond control. A happy home in childhood and 
girlhood and wifehood ; tender care all the while ; 
warm friends ; loving parents, husband, children ; 
intelligent interest in and sympathy with what was 
passing in this interesting age ; agreeable social 
connections and duties ; a beautiful and consistent 
Christian life; — and, after all this, an early rest in 
heaven. What is there that you would ask for your 
beloved, that God in his mercy has not given her ? 

With great regard and great sympathy, your friend, 

S, F. Phillips. 

To Dr. Lewis. 

LiLESVILLE, Oct. 25, 1886. 

I have read Mrs. S.'s memorial tribute with great 
interest ; every word was the truth. I can say my- 
self, truthfully, that I do not believe your dear Nellie 



32 

ever intentionally gave the slightest pang of pain to 
any human being. I am sure I never met a more 
perfect character in every way (unless it was my 
own dear mother). She surely kept the faith, and, 
having finished her course, now receives her reward 
among the spirits made perfect. 

Very truly yours, 

W. H. Battle. 

To Mrs. K. P. Battle. 

Cool Spring, Oct. 19, 1886. 

I know so well the utter blank that faces you. Our 
dear dauofhters loved each other as sisters ; were 
trained under the same system in childhood ; both 
married happily, bore lovely children, beautified the 
lives of those around them by their rectitude, purity, 
and active charity, making each and all feel them as 
centers upon which the very existence of personal 
comfort and happiness revolved. But when the call 
came, and was answered, and we heard not even 
their receding footsteps as they left this earthly 
tabernacle, ah ! then, how plain it was that if Jesus 
had sent us no comforter, our hearts and lives would 
lie hopelessly broken before such a demand. 



33 

There is the sweetest comfort in knowing that our 
dear ones were most dutiful to us, — true to their 
home lives, consecrated to their Maker, and humble 
in their endeavors to fulfill the vows they assumed as 
Christians. 

Do you not recall their girlhood when together ? 
The summer months, that sometimes brought sweet 
Nell to Warrenton, give me many backward glimpses 
of their beauty and happiness and gayety. May 

God bless us. 

Ever affectionately, 

L. B. Battle. 



To Mrs. Spencer. 

Raleigh, Feb. i, 1887. 

My knowledge of the heavenly beauty of her char- 
acter came from years of intimate companionship. 
She was a revelation to me. In all my acquaintance 
I have never known such perfect purity as she dis- 
played. The spotless lily was not fairer or whiter 
than her own soul — a soul which, as you know, 
shone ever through her lovely face, the light of it fall- 
ing like a benediction on all who knew her well. 
And her truthfulness was not less remarkable — it 
5 



34 

was inborn, and added to it by training was a tender 
conscientiousness, which led her to endeavor after 
accuracy in even the smallest matter. She was true 
as steel, and to her friends the very embodiment of 
the word friend in its best meaning, — ready with 
sympathy, wise in advice, and almost unerring in 
judgment. 

Every day, as I go around her desolated home, I 
see continually evidences of her industry, of her fore- 
sight, of her thoughtfulness. How she, with her 
delicate health, ever accomplished so much, I cannot 
understand. Her presence is felt daily among us 
in all things, and her memory will ever be the most 
sacred influence in the home which she blessed with 
her beautiful example. 

Very truly yours, 

Annie B. Foreman. 



To CoL. WxM. E. Anderson. 

Chicago, 111., Oct. 15, 1886. 

I am indeed shocked and grieved to my inmost 
heart, and can only say. Would to God I were at 
home ! — not that I could hope to do anything, but to 



35 

assure the bereaved family of my heartfelt sympathy, 
and to perform for dear Mrs. Lewis the last service 
of the church. What a noble character she was ! so 
exemplary and so modest withal, so lovely in all 
respects. No one could appreciate more fully than 
I her beautiful nature, or her perfect loyalty to her 
church and her rector. 

Faithfully yours, 

M. M. Marshall. 



To Mrs. K. P. Battle. 

Beirut, Syria, Dec. i, 1886. 
Dear Mrs. Battle : 

Mrs. Post gave me this morning a copy of the 
North Carolina Presbyterian of Oct. 20th, in which 
we read a " Letter from Chapel Hill." 

Dr. Fisher and I wish to express to you our deepest 
sympathy in the loss of your daughter, whom (though 
we met her but once, on her recent visit to N. Y.) 
we remember as one of the most charming women 
we have ever known. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Mary Shaw Fisher. 



36 

To Dr. Lewis. 

Savannah, Ga., Nov, 27, 1886. 
My dear Dr. Leivis : 

I have never known more widespread and sincere 
grief upon the passing away of one young life than 
is expressed over her departure. I have always felt 
that I knew her much better than our short personal 
acquaintance seemed to warrant. It was because of 
her engaging and sympathetic manners, and because 
I had heard so much of her before we met. I ex- 
pected a great deal, and every anticipation was real- 
ized. I shall never forget how I was thrilled by her 
beauty as she entered the Scriven House parlor to 
meet me. Since then I have always enjoyed hear- 
ing all that friends could tell me of you and of her — 
of her loveliness, and of your united happiness. I re- 
member Mrs. B. could scarcely say enough of the 
impression she made on her. She ended by saying, 
"I don't believe she ever had a wrong thought." 
You would not wish to bring her back — she is "num- 
bered now with the saints in glory everlasting." 

Most truly your friend, 

Daisy King. 



37 

To Mrs. Foreman. 

Chapel Hill, Feb. 14, 1887. 

I thank you very much for your letter. It is hard 
to write anything about Nellie Battle Lewis so as 
not to appear over-eulogistic, exaggerated. It is not 
that death has thrown a veil over defects, and bid us 
remember only her virtues. She was, in all sober 
truth, a very unusual character. I never had a con- 
versation with her that I did not feel the secret 
strength as well as the visible sweetness that was in 
her. She was so mild, so unobtrusive, something so 
childlike in little ways and looks of hers, that not a 
few passing acquaintances concluded she was only 
this and nothing more. I do not believe that any one 
could have talked with her on serious subjects, on 
matters of importance, without being sensible of the 
dignity of her mind — the stability, the intelligence, 
the good taste, the exquisite delicacy, the true 
womanliness. Ah, well ! we might have known that 
such are always called. Her face had early the 
light that was never on sea or shore — the light 
that attends the close and closer walk with God 
that soon ends in his rest. 

Yours very truly, 

C. p. Spencer. 



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